In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Gulf region, a very small amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) is treated for compost production. The produced compost through traditional methods of compost piles and trenches does not coincide with the international standards of compost quality. Therefore, in this study, a continuous thermophilic composting (CTC) method is introduced as a novel and efficient technique for treating food waste into a quality compost in a short period of time. The quality of the compost was examined by degradation rates of organic matter (OM), changes in total carbon (TC), ash contents, pH, dynamics in ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N) and nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N), and nitrification index (NI). The results showed that thermophilic treatment at 60 °C increased the pH of the substrate and promoted degradation and mineralization process. After 30 days of composting, the degree of OM degradation was increased by 43.26 and 19.66%, NH4-N by 65.22 and 25.23%, and NO3-N by 44.76 and 40.05% as compared to runs treated at 25 and 40 °C, respectively. The stability of the compost was attained after 30 to 45 days with quality better than the compost that was stabilized after 60 days of the experiment under mesophilic treatment (25 °C). The final compost also showed stability at room temperature, confirming the rapid degradation and maturation of food waste after thermophilic treatment. Moreover, the quality of produced compost is in line with the compost quality standard of United States (US), California, Germany, and Austria. Hence, CTC can be implemented as a novel method for rapid decomposition of food waste into a stable organic fertilizer in the given hot climatic conditions of KSA and other Gulf countries with a total net saving of around US $70.72 million per year.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 3, 2017
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